When Ariana Grande bought matching diamonds for six of her friends in “7 rings,” do you think the diamonds were mined? And, if the ring bands were gold, it’s valid to wonder if that gold was mined as well, right? (Sorry, Ari!) It may not be common knowledge, but the practice of mining diamonds and gold is actually quite damaging to the environment, and wasteful. So, unfortunately, that giant wedding ring that’s been on your Pinterest board for 10 years probably isn’t very eco-friendly. Don’t give up on your gem dreams yet though, because Scéona (pronounced SAY-oh-nuh) is the ingenious fine jewellery brand that is putting sustainability at the forefront of their values.
Scéona Poroli Chauveau, founder and creative director of the eponymous fine jewellery company, is a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). She decided to attend GIA and take gemology classes after realizing her love for jewelry upon moving to Jaipur, India in 2011. In 2018, she moved to Singapore and worked for a local jewelry designer in product development. While the experience was very educational, she recognized that she wasn’t able to find any jewelry pieces that met both her design and sustainability expectations. As a result, she decided to start a company that specialized in jewelry that was both fine and sustainable—also known as Scéona.
The way Scéona is able to craft such gorgeous jewelry without direct mining involves two key elements: recycled gold and cultured (lab-grown) diamonds. All of Scéona’s jewelry pieces are made of 18k solid recycled gold. Scéona brought up a good point, that, “especially when it comes to jewelry, when you think that something is beautiful, you want to buy it, and you tend to forget how it was [made], and how it became a ring on your finger.” Lucky for us that Scéona’s jewelry is both beautiful and sustainably made!
Lab-grown diamonds are man-made, and grown in a lab “by synthesizing a seed of carbon in a reactor.” They have the same chemical composition as mined diamonds but have significantly less of a negative environmental impact. Scéona guesses that people still chose mined diamonds over their eco-friendly alternative, “because of decades of marketing … With millennials and the new generation coming, it’s very different. But with the older generation, it’s still very deeply rooted that a diamond is a diamond that was mined, and that to be ‘real’ it has to come from the earth, whatever it costs.”
So far, Scéona’s favorite piece they’ve crafted is the Ili ring. “It is a very simple, very thin [gold] band with a 2mm diamond on it. It’s my favorite because it looks very simple, but … the gold is textured, and the diamond is not at the center of the band; it’s on the side so you can stack it with your [other] rings,” she explains. The Rivers, the company’s first collection, was inspired by nature, and that’s shown in the Ili ring. “On the Ili ring, we have what we call our tree bark texture … [and] the diamond on the side is like a drop of water.”
If you’re thinking of testing out an eco-friendly lifestyle, Scéona recommends that, “because sustainability is now quite a subject, the first thing that you could do is go on a specialized platform.” She mentions that in Asia there is a website called Green is the New Black, where they list eco-friendly and sustainable brands in a variety of markets. She also notes the Good on You app, which rates fashion brands for how ethical and sustainable they are. “Sustainability is … also a big trend, and that’s a good thing and a bad thing. [There’s] a lot of greenwashing, so you need to do a lot of fact-checking—if you really want to go into sustainability, don’t [just] trust what the brand tells you.” Then, if you’re satisfied after completing your fact-checking, you can go ahead and buy the product.
While Scéona is a fairly young company, as they launched in September 2019, they’ve already been featured in popular magazines such as Elle, Vanity Fair, and Glamour, and Scéona considers this to be one of their biggest accomplishments so far. “I guess the first accomplishment is our first collection. We do have a limited number of pieces; it’s a small collection, and we’re doing only rings and earrings, but we are very proud of the fact that we are having sustainability at the heart from start to finish,” she explains. “Everything has been thought through, like the carbon footprint and the packaging issue … This is the first achievement, of course, and I hope that we will have many more.”
Browse Scéona’s The Rivers collection on their website, and check out their Instagram, where they share jewelry tips, infographics, and shop updates. And, get excited about their next collection, because Scéona thinks it will include a necklace!